Extreme Measures: Opioid Crisis, Mount Everest, and Burnout
It's Tuesday may twenty eight. Welcome to skim this. We're breaking down the most complex stories of the day, and giving you the context on why they matter today, Oklahoma is taking Johnson and Johnson to court. It's the first date trial connected to the opioid epidemic. We'll break down how this could set a precedent for lawsuits in the future. Then there's been an uptick in depth on now Everest this season. But what's Nepal? Got to do with it. And finally, a small town in Germany has a new council member. And she's making a splash, we're here to make your Tuesday smarter. Let's skim this. Today's episode is brought to you by Honey book. The most complicated story today is about the opioid crisis. Prescription opioids can relieve pain from injuries are threats and cancer, but they're very addictive, and they can be deadly. It's become a public health emergency across the country. More than one hundred and thirty people die every day from opioid overdoses that's more deaths per day than from car crashes or shootings over the last few years states and federal prosecutors have sued drug manufacturers and distributors who make in cell opioids. Most of those lawsuits have ended in cash settlements made behind closed doors. But today, the doors were open for day, one of the first major opioid trial in the US in Norman Oklahoma. The state attorney general is suing the pharma company Johnson and Johnson, claiming the J is quote, the kingpin behind the public health emergency and that its profited from the state's opioid epidemic. Here's A G Mike hunter giving his opening statement in court this morning. That Oklahoma family's businesses communities and individual Oklahoma's. Is almost impossible to comprehend. How did this happen? At the end of the day, you're on have a short one word answer Greek. Lawyers involved in more than fifteen hundred similar lawsuits going down across the country will be watching this trial. We're going to get into how this lawsuit got started and y what Oklahoma is seeking and why it's important. Oklahoma's AG I filed this lawsuit in two thousand seventeen it was one of the first lawsuits of its kind file in the US. The says between twenty fifteen and twenty eighteen Oklahoma doctors wrote eighteen million opioid prescriptions for a population of just three point nine million in two thousand seventeen just under four hundred people in Oklahoma died from opioid related causes, so Oklahoma sued three major pharma companies Purdue pharma, which makes Oxycontin TV pharmaceuticals, one of the world's largest generic drug makers and Johnson and Johnson, you might know them for products like baby powder, and baby shampoo. But Johnson and Johnson also produces opioids all three were supposed to be part of this trial today. But in the past few months, two of those companies wiggled out of having to go to trial in March Purdue offered to settle for two hundred seventy million dollars. That's couch change compared to the billions of dollars. Oklahoma has said the opioid crisis will end up costing them. But the state was worried Purdue would end up declaring bankruptcy, if they went to trial and the Oki's with NB left empty-handed. So they settled then just this past Sunday TV pharmaceuticals gave in as well. They also agreed to settle for just eighty five million dollars without admitting to doing anything wrong. Johnson and Johnson has so far refused to settle lick. We said Purdue was facing a lot more expensive lawsuits and could have declared bankruptcy. But J J makes eighty one billion dollars a year. They're probably not going to declare bankruptcy, so they'll pay the court fees. So what is Oklahoma saying that Johnson and Johnson did? The state says Johnson and Johnson contributed to the deadly opioid crisis in three ways. I by owning companies that produce and refined, the drug found in the poppy plant aka opium, JJ says it's sold those companies in two thousand sixteen second by creating its own opioid products including the feno pain, patch, which goes right on the skin Johnson and Johnson says they're a small player and that's in two thousand eight it's opioid medications have only amounted to one percent of the prescriptions made across the country third Oklahoma claims that J J has contributed to the crisis by deceptive marketing and marketing opioids to kids to normalize, the drug JJ has denied this, but Oklahoma says they're gonna show this in court. And Oklahoma's trying a different approach here. It saying Johnson and Johnson violated the state's public nuisance law that may sound like the state is acquainting J J with the guy who doesn't pick up his dogs poop, but public nuisance laws are actually a big deal in Oklahoma. Public nuisances are usually considered things that hurt people's health like a factory polluting a waterway Oklahoma's trying to say the chain, j created a public nuisance by knowingly marketing and selling opioids that they knew were more dangerous than they were telling consumers. J J says it's painkillers are regulated by the FDA and millions use them without getting addicted to be clear, using public nuisance laws against pharma companies is a pretty radical approach for Oklahoma. But other states have had success invoking these laws against say, tobacco companies, so it could work out for them. So what's the skim? Today is day one but this trial in Oklahoma is expected to go on all summer long. And it'll be live streamed online. So we'll be able to hear the Oklahoma Agee's novel approach, and about the docs, he says he has on Jay Jay, and how the company responds at the end the judge, and not a jury will decide if the company should be held responsible. So we'll be keeping an eye on this. So we'll a bunch of lawyers involved in another huge opioid case going down in Ohio, that involves fifteen hundred lawsuits from state, local and tribal governments across the country against a bunch of drug makers in distributors. All of those cases have been wrapped up into one, and those lawyers will be watching, how Oklahoma's testing of the public nuisance law works out the major player, they're going after is Purdue pharmaceuticals. So Purdue will also likely be watching how this plays out to see how Jay J defends itself in court that trial is scheduled to start in October. Other people coming under fire are officials in the country of Nepal. We'll explain why people are dying on Mount Everest. That's next. If you want to create a business making clients look, good is your thing tedious, Adleman tasks, not so much. So let Honey book handle it. Honey book is a management tool that helps you stay organized with custom templates and automation tools right now. Honey book is offering our listeners fifty percent off your first year with promo code skim. This payment is flexible and this promotion applies whether you pay monthly or annually, go to Honey book dot com and use promo code skim. This for fifty percent off your first year get paid faster and work smarter with Honey book dotcom, promo code skimmed. This. When you're lifelong dream turns into a vacation nightmare, that's been the story coming from Mount Everest this year, you may have seen the photos a traffic jam of climbers standing in line to summit. What's known as the roof of the world, at least eleven people have died this year. The last time that many people died, there was during an avalanche in two thousand fifteen. So today, we have three things you need to know about what's happening on Mount Everest, right now, starting with who gets to go. Mount Everest is twenty nine thousand feet tall to get to the top, you need a permit from the Nepalese government, China recently said, a limit for permits to access the mountain from the Tibetan side, but Nepal doesn't have any limits this year. They gave out a record three hundred eighty one each Nepalese permit costs about eleven thousand dollars and there are a big source of income for Nepal. One of Asia's poorest countries this year's permits will bring in more than four million dollars. But one thing to note those permits are first season not for a specific date or time and the Nepalese government has very loose regulations on how crowded the mountain gets and on top of the permit fee climbers pay a lot for training and to the tourist companies that get them to the mountain all that can cost as much as seventy thousand dollars. So it's not surprising that people will do whatever it takes to get to the top. So there's the money and there's the weather may is the time. Most people try to go up Mount Everest, but there's a short window of good, weather, and this year, that window has been shorter than usual. And so many climbers are going up at the same time and because of that, when they get almost to the top, the climbers are having to wait for hours on a narrow ridge to reach the summit in what's called the death zone. That's because at twenty nine thousand feet oxygen levels are only about a third of what they are at sea level, and it's hard for the human body to keep functioning. So what's the local government's responsibility in all of this? The Nepalese government is getting a lot of heat for these debts on non Everest. Some say they took too long fixing a safety rope that goes to the top of the mountain and they're also being called out for the added permits, but climbers say it's not just about the numbers something. Everest has become a bucket list, item and not just for super experienced climbers, Nepal doesn't have any strict rules for how experienced climbers or crews need to be to tackle Everest. David Morton, one of the climbers on mount. Everest last week told CNN that that's an issue. The major problem is really inexperienced and not only climbers on the mountain. But also the operators on the mountain that are supporting those weiner's the Nepalese government has said it's considering a change to the way at issues permits after they look at the data from this year. If you're back from a three day weekend, this probably feels like the most Monday, Tuesday in a while, if it felt even harder than that to get to work. The World Health Organization is saying, listen up. The W H O is officially recognized burnout as a legitimate medical diagnosis. Researchers have been looking at burnout since the seventies, and it's one of the most talked about mental health problems. But it hasn't been recognized by this international body before this new burnout diagnosis, only applies to work environments, and doctors have to rule out anxiety and other mood disorders. I but they say if you're feeling exhausted feeling really cynical or distant work and being less productive than normal, then you should talk to a doctor. It's also mental health awareness month, and we've got more tips on how to take care of yourself on our website, the skim dot com slash spring forward. Before we go. We've got a fun fact coming to you from Germany. You may have heard about the European elections this weekend. We want to talk about a local election in a small German town with a long name. We can pronounce its nickname has Kibo. It's got a population of around eight thousand and a brand new town council member. Her name is LIZA Heizo and her major platform swimming pools. She wants her town to reopen its public pool which closed down a few years ago. Oh, yeah. And councilwoman Haifa is one hundred years old. Yep. One hundred so in case you were wondering if it's too late to dive into politics. The answer is no. And that's all for skimmed this, thanks again, for listening and be sure to hit subscribe and rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to add the skin to your morning routine, you can sign up for our free newsletter the daily scam right on our website at the skim dot com. It's everything you need to notice. Start your day right in your inbox.